In a surprising upset, progressive activist Cori Bush has defeated establishment incumbent William Lacy Clay for a shot at the House of Representatives. Hers is one of several surprising upsets from Tuesday’s primary, showing a shocking amount of momentum from the country’s left side of the political spectrum.
Bush’s massive upset in Missouri ends a nearly 50-year political stranglehold. Bush will be running for the House seat that represents the district that includes St. Louis. She is well-known for her activism in protesting the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Her victory is emblematic of the momentum that the Black Lives Matter movement has accrued in recent months.
Meanwhile, her victory in Missouri is almost certain to carry her to the House. Her district is heavily Democratic. What’s more, Bush got a big bump from Senator Bernie Sanders after her win. He hailed her as a “true progressive.”
The summer of 2020 has been something of a political realignment all across the country. Donald Trump’s narrow 2016 victory shocked establishment Democrats, but was something that progressives found unsurprising.
Many pointed to Hillary Clinton’s widespread unpopularity as a reason for depressed turnout in 2016. However, after four years of Trump’s brand of politics, progressives and establishment Democrats alike are highly motivated.
In spite of the raging pandemic, voter turnout is expected to be high in 2020. Primaries have already seen many people turn out, and officials have expanded mail-in voting to meet demand. It’s little surprise that Trump’s opponents are more motivated than his supporters; Trump himself has decried mail-in voting as rife with fraud.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, Donald Trump ally Kris Kobach lost his primary challenge. Kobach ran for governor of the state in 2018, but lost to his Democratic opponent.
Many Republicans in the state were actually glad to see Kobach lose to challenger Roger Marshall, as they viewed Kobach as likely to lose his bid for the Senate. Kobach’s hardline stances on immigration and abortion make him a tough sell in the more moderate suburbs and urban areas of Kansas.
Interestingly, Republicans have held Kobach’s Senate seat for over 100 years. This is rare, as throughout the 60s and 70s, Republicans and Democrats shifted politically and eventually ended up on reverse platforms. Kansas, however, has shifted along with the Republican party over the last century.